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Environment, Health and Safety

Safe Handling of Radioactive Material

This section provides information and properties of some commonly used radioactive isotopes on the UB Campuses.

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Performing a Wipe Survey

Surveys for radiation and radioactive contamination must be performed AFTER EACH USE of radioactive material. The purpose of this survey is to identify any contamination present and to prevent its spread.

Vial of Radioactive P-32

Phosphorus-32 is a commonly used radionuclide with a half-life of 14.3 days, emitting beta particles with a maximum energy of 1.71 MeV (Million Electron Volts).

S-35 Stock vial in a fume hood

Sulfur-35 is a commonly used radionuclide with a half-life of 87.4 days, emitting only beta particles with a maximum energy of 0.167 MeV (Million Electron Volts) and an average energy of 0.049 MeV. The beta particles from S-35 travel a maximum of 24 cm. in air.

Original Microfuge Vial

In January 2012, a worker in a radioactive materials lab was performing an experiment which involved incubating a 40 ┬Ál sample in a 0.6 ml microfuge tube using a dry heat block. As the tube was lifted from the heat block, the cap popped open, releasing a radioactive aqueous solution that contaminated the work area.  Cap locks, as shown below, are now being used in this lab during heat block incubations to prevent future occurrences: